Nebraska to Play Host to Arizona State in 2002 BCA Classic

By NU Athletic Communications
Lincoln -- The University of Nebraska football team will play host to Arizona State on Saturday, Aug. 24, at 6:45 p.m. central time to kick off the 2002 football season. The two teams will meet at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln in a preseason game sponsored by the Black Coaches Association and televised live nationally be ESPN. With the addition of the preseason game, Nebraska has 13 games on its 2002 regular-season schedule, for the first time in school history.

University of Nebraska Director of Athletics Bill Byrne said he has applied to the NCAA for a waiver of the 1-in-4 rule, which limits teams from competing in more than one preseason game over a four-year period. Nebraska played in the NACDA Pigskin Classic last season. Byrne said, "I am hopeful the waiver will be granted, and if it is we look forward to hosting the game."

This marks the second consecutive year the Huskers will participate in a preseason game. Last year, Nebraska kicked off its 2001 season by defeating TCU in the NACDA Pigskin Classic. The BCA Football Classic will be played on Aug. 24, marking the earliest season opener for the Huskers in 113 years. The Aug. 24 opener marks the sixth time in the last nine years that Nebraska has opened its season in the month of August.

The contest against Arizona State will mark the sixth time Nebraska has taken part in one of the NCAA sanctioned preseason games, with the Huskers sporting a perfect 5-0 record. Nebraska opened its season three times at the Kickoff Classic in the Meadowlands at East Rutherford, N.J., defeating Penn State on Aug. 29, 1983 (44-6), Texas A&M on Aug. 27, 1988 (23-14) and West Virginia on Aug. 28, 1994 (31-0). Nebraska defeated Louisiana Tech (56-27) in the Eddie Robinson Classic on Aug. 29, 1998, and defeated TCU (21-7) on Aug. 25, 2001, in the NACDA Pigskin Classic.

Last season, Arizona State posted a 4-7 record under first-year coach Dirk Koetter (pronounced Cutter). ASU returns 41 lettermen and 11 starters, including three on offense and eight on defense. Nebraska went 11-2 last season, losing to national champion Miami in the Rose Bowl. The Huskers return 56 lettermen and 13 starters, including five on offense, six on defense and two kickers. Both teams are looking to replace their starting quarterbacks.

Nebraska Head Coach Frank Solich, who has posted a 42-9 record in his first four years at Nebraska said the BCA game will give the young Huskers much-needed experience.

"We appreciate the invitation to be part of the Black Coaches Association Football Classic. Nebraska has been involved in many preseason games throughout the course of our football history, and we are looking forward to the opportunity of playing on ESPN against an excellent Arizona State program. It should be a great game for the players and fans of both teams as well as college football fans around the country.

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